The shape of the heart is recognized worldwide as a symbol of love and romantic affection. Everywhere I look I see little signs that say “I ♥ you”. The heart, however, is also filled with love that is not romantic.

Consider for a moment your love for chocolate or designer shoes. Your love for these items is not necessarily romantic or affectionate. It is rather an extreme preference that leads to the production of endorphins close to those produced by love. Therefore, you may feel the same euphoria associated with your loved ones and develop a dependency on those elements to thrive instead of relationships.

When my grandson, Mikey Joe, passed away two years ago, my heart was broken. In fact, everything in me was broken. His death shattered my spirit, my will, my ability to function, my joy, and everything that had mattered in my life. Nothing was the same and it seemed to me that happiness would never come back to me.

My daughter, Mikey Joe’s mother, adopted the heart symbol to signify the deepest love wound her soul had ever suffered. The heart, you see, symbolizes more than romantic love, it is also filled with a love so painful and painful that it sometimes stifles your ability to live without extreme effort and without determination on a daily basis. The pain of losing a child forces you to fight from within to survive. It robs you of your power to exist and reinforces your desire to keep breathing. My daughter’s wound, of course, was not one of romantic love. It was so much deeper, bigger and deeper than that. His wound was the most magnificent wound known to a human being; the loss of his living flesh and blood; the loss of her beloved son.

For two years I bought every beautiful set of earrings, heart pendants and bracelets I came across for my daughter. Every time I’ve bought them, I’ve thought of them as little pieces of her broken heart.

My daughter’s husband serves in the navy of our great country. During the COVID-19 crisis, she and her children have been in Texas with my husband and me while her husband suffered a temporary transfer suspension on his orders. During our time together, my daughter and I had the opportunity to talk deeply about our grief over our loss. What I realized was that the heart symbol, while it first symbolized the brokenness of our lives, now represents the warmth of our recovery.

Deep in our hearts, we know that our boy lives, that he is with God, and that one day we will be united as an eternal family. The sadness stays with us, and I believe it most likely will for the rest of our earth days. However, we can now realize the hope. We can breathe a sigh of relief. We are able to have good days without experiencing moments of devastation. And, we are able to wear hearts for the love they represent in our lives rather than for the pain they carry in our souls. For us, this is an improvement. It is the return of life, the return of happiness; the return of hope, joy and love. Currently, it is a glow, but it is growing.

So to all of you who wear and display hearts, keep wearing and displaying them because every time I see one it reminds me that love comes back to where the world ended, and that helps me know that me and my daughter are on the mend.

May God in his eternal wisdom bless and keep you on your journey through life, and may you never suffer the horrible loss of a child. The speed of God. My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a certified bereavement counselor (GC-C), funeral director (FDIC), published author, syndicated columnist, and co-founder of the “Mikey Joe Children’s Memorial” and Heaven Sent, Corp. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, and Grief BRIEFs related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American finalist for Funeral Director of the Year and the recipient of the BBB Integrity Award.

It is my life’s work to comfort the bereaved and help them live.

For additional encouragement, read other articles, or watch the “Grief Briefs” video, please visit my website at

Please follow me on Instagram at “PushingUpDaisies_TracyLee”.